What does a Photographer do?

Median Pay $32,490
Growth Rate -6%
Citation Retrieved from BLS.gov

A photographer captures images electronically, normally using a digital camera, and editing photos on a computer. They provide a wide variety of photographic services, depending on their expertise, such as portraits, event photography (such as weddings), magazine covers, landscapes, medical data, or for journalist events. They may create photographic artwork or even work for academic institutions.

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How to Become a Photographer

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A portrait photographer does not require postsecondary education, but it is suggested one take classes in a related field to gain the advantage that employers want, like, creativity, technical knowledge of their trade and a good eye.

In the cases of industrial, scientific, and photo journalists, a bachelor’s degree is usually expected. Several universities, junior and community colleges offer photography classes, as well as vocational and technical institutions or private trade schools.Developing a portfolio of ones work is very necessary in gaining employment in this competitive occupation.

Job Description of a Photographer

Their work can be very technical, using equipment like computers, editing software, and high-quality printers, which helps them edit, crop, enhance, or modify an image. They test the best lighting (natural and artificial) when taking photographs and enhance the images through color correction or other special effects.

Photographers remain competitive through providing digital portfolios to show their work, usually on a website, and attract clients by advertising services and marketing strategies. A photographer should be artistic and interpersonal and be skilled in customer service, business and computers and be detail oriented. A photographer may work for a university, newspaper, or other places that his or her specialized photographic skills are needed, or be self-employed.

Photographer Career Video Transcript

Today, a camera in your pocket is the norm but it takes a skilled photographer with technical knowledge and artistic vision to capture poetry in a visual image. These professional artists use technical equipment and software to create quality photographs. Expertise with digital cameras and photo editing software is a must whether they shoot weddings, portraits, or breaking news stories.

About 60% of photographers are self employed. These photographers often need to advertise and attract new clients. This makes networking and maintaining an online portfolio essential for marketing their work. Independent photographers are also responsible for record keeping as well as purchasing and maintaining equipment. Photographers work in news, portrait studios, and commercial studios. They may specialize, for example, in scientific, aerial, or industrial photography. Working for a news outlet can mean long and irregular hours, exposure to dangerous surroundings, and frequent travel.

Most photographers stand or walk for long periods while carrying heavy equipment. Many positions require only the skill and expertise needed to capture the images an employer wants. Although a bachelor’s degree in photography or a related field may be required for work in photo journalism or specialized fields. While a career in photography takes commitment to the craft and artistic discipline, it’s worth it to get the perfect shot.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Photographers.

The career video is Public Domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.